Members are free to adapt, at their discretion, the sectoral coverage and content of the commitments. Commitments therefore generally reflect the objectives and constraints of national policy as a whole and in certain sectors. While some members have planned fewer than a handful of services, others have adopted market access and prison treatment disciplines in more than 120 of a total of 160 departments. GATT ministers also recognised that the liberalisation of services cannot happen overnight, but must be gradual. As a result, ministerial declarations on services indicate that ministers` objective is the progressive liberalization of rules on trade in services, and in general, countries have five years or more to implement their changes before they are subject to many commitments.26 Ministers also authorized the application of multilateral and plurilateral agreements. Multilateral agreements were negotiated by GATT members, adopted by majority and applicable to all GATT membership. On the other hand, plurilateral agreements were negotiated between fewer countries and applied only to those countries. Therefore, their use has been more selective or conditional. With regard to the commitments made by the European Commission as “national treatment” (i.e. for equal treatment between foreign and local suppliers), with the exception of market access obligations, where a particular trade barrier has been unilaterally removed in a region where the country has made a commitment, it cannot be reintroduced. This proposal is called the “ratchet clause”.  Market access is not used for public health, education, water, film and television services. Therefore, the “ratchet clause” does not apply.
  Trade agreements are concluded when two or more nations agree on the terms of trade between them. They determine the customs duties and customs duties imposed by countries on imports and exports. All trade agreements concern international trade. The growing importance of services in domestic and global trade has put it on the U.S. agenda for bilateral and regional trade agreements, and trade in services is high on the agenda of the United States and the other 152 members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in the Doha Round for the development of multilateral negotiations. . . .